The core of chain maintenance is to clean the chain properly.
If all the parts of your bike need the cleaning, your chain is perhaps the most important one. A clean chain is a long-lasting chain, and also makes a positive effect on the lifespan of your whole drivetrain. So it is certainly a money-saving tip, there is a specific technique to effective chain cleaning though, and we’re going to go into the detail here. Now, time to roll up your sleeves.
The first thing to ready is that you are going to need a specific product to degrease your chain.
You must know the feeling of trying to get the oil off your hands. Soap and hot water don’t work and even help you, maybe washing-up liquid might go a little bit better, but essentially, you’re stuck with it. Exactly, this is true for cleaning your chain. So what you need is a specific degreaser. Now, various chemicals that you have lying around at home might do the job, to some extent. So, something like white spirit, or paraffin, or diesel will all get your chain clean, but they're pretty nasty, really. They're certainly not environmentally friendly, and I think we can do better than that.
If you are not doing a super quick clean, then you’d better use the proper degreaser. A biological one is better.
Note: All degreaser can be pretty nasty stuff, so it is definitely a good idea to use gloves and then be careful that you don’t get any in your eyes.
Step 1: You need to decant a small amount of the degreaser into a suitable container. A sawn-off water bottle is quite a good use for old ones.
Step 2: And then just simply paint it on with a brush liberally, and then give the chain a back pedal, then we just leave it to sit for a couple minutes.
Step 3: Use two nail brushes. Now, if we clean the chain now just with a sponge and hot water, it’s going to look nice and clean; But if we then look closely, we’ll see that there’s quite a lot of gunk still between the plates of chain, and it’s this gunk that’s actually going to be wearing away at our drivetrain. The nail brushes are both available from pharmacies or big supermarkets, then what we do is we sandwich the chain between the two nail brushes, and then we backpedal, and the little bristles will clean the chain inside and out. Now, you might need to do a bit of modification of your nail brushes, maybe trim the inside bristles down slightly so it does fit nicely around the chain.
There is a specific tool for this effect as well. You can use a chain bath or chain cleaner, convenient and, arguably and significantly more effective way of cleaning your chain. It’s designed specifically for the purpose. You simply sandwich your chain in there. Fill the top reservoir with degreaser, and then backpedal your chain through, and it gets clean.
Step 4: You will always need to finish off with a sponge and hot, soapy water, just to make sure you get all the degreaser off. That is absolutely vital. Because if you don’t, any residue will mean that your chain oil won’t stay on properly. So this guards against it.
Step 5: The next step is to dry with a rag and then re-lube your chain. Now, it’s properly a good idea to use some kind of aerosol lube first. That way your chain is completely dry, and it’ll stop it getting rusty if you have to store your bike outside.
There aren’t really any occasions where you would just clean your chain. The rest of the drivetrain does need a good clean as well and you have got your cleaning stuff out. So you can paint your degreaser onto a cassette and onto the jockey wheels as well. Maybe you are worried about getting degreaser into sealed bearings and thinking that perhaps that it will decrease the lifespan of your bearings. In fact, to a certain extent, that might be true, but it’s certainly not essential to dismantle your drivetrain every time you are going to clean it. But it’s entirely up to you. Now, clearly, a gleaming drivetrain is going to do wonders for your morale.
You must periodically need to repair or replace the chain on your bike, either because the old one is worn out or perhaps because it’s been damaged, maybe even snapped. Fortunately, it’s a simple process. All you need is a new chain and then a chain tool. This ever happens to you on a ride there’s one thing you’re definitely going to need if you want to get home without calling for assistance and that’s some kind of multi-tool which has also got a chain on it.
There is something that really can come in handy if you ever snap your chain is one of these tiny little chain links will make your repairing a lot easier. We’re going to introduce how to repair your chain using a power link.
Begin by removing anything that’s left of the broken link and that should leave you with two links feed the chain through the front mesh and around the bottom bracket shell as opposed to chain rings.
Next, feed the other end of the chain over one of the smallest cogs and then through the jockey wheels, ensuring that it runs inside the inner tabs on the mesh cage
Then, attach one segment of the power link to each end of the chain, put the two ends of the power link together then pull it tight using your hand. If you aren’t able to engage it fully manually, put the bike into the small chain ring and then pedal it around until the power link is above the chain stay.
Afterward, apply some pressure to the pedals while engaging the front brake. If you don’t have a power link with you, then you’re going to need to take an extra link out. Do this using the chain tool on your multi-tool. It’s important to remember not to push the pin all the way out because you will need to reuse it. But, bear in mind that this method is completely against your money recommendations when you start threading your chain through.
Next, ensure that the pin is pointing away from the bike, leave the end with a pin on the floor and for the other end of the chain around the bottom bracket shell and through the front mech. Pull it through and then wrap it around the cassette and through the jockey wheels as before.
Then, pull the two ends of the chain together ideally; the pin will be slightly protruding through the link so it stays in place. Now you’re ready to start pushing the pin back in with your chain tool. You’ve got to be really careful though when it’s almost in to make sure it isn’t pushing the other side of the cage out.
Once you’ve finished putting the link through it should be equally embedded on both sides of the chain. You will probably find that the link will be stiff at first ensure that it moves freely by flexing the chain around that new link. Now all that’s left to do is to put the chain back onto the chainring you have effectively taken one complete link out of the chain so it will be shorter than before to try not to put too much tension on it by keeping it out of the bigger cogs.
Once you have done all that, you’re ready to get on your way but please don’t forget that way you have repaired it which is going be a weak link, so on your ride home, try to keep a high cadence in case that you are not putting too much torque through the chain; and secondly make sure that you replace it before you get riding again.